Life, Minimalism

Where to start when you want to declutter

When you want to declutter, it is often hard to begin. What do you start with and how do you determine what to keep? I have a few tips on where to start.


where to start when you want to declutter


When I decided to declutter I started by reading the book of Mari Kondo: ‘The life changing magic of tidying up‘. It is such a great book and it helped me a lot to get in the mood and to have a plan before I started. It is a great read and will really help you to start somewhere. You can either buy it (you can click the image to find the book on amazon) but you can most definitely buy it in a second hand store as well. Or, like I did, buy the digital version; less books in the house and cheaper!


Anyway, what I am trying to say is, declutter with a plan. I have started declutter several times in my life and simply started out somewhere. Although it is a good idea to start, it is a lot easier when you know what to do. So I wanted to share a few tips on what to do when you want to declutter an area in your house.


Pick a category

This is very important. You should always start by picking a particular category. Don’t go into a room and organise the entire room. You will probably feel overwhelmed halfway through (I know I always do) and this makes the task very unpleasant to do. If you categorise and decide what you are going to focus on, you have more time to think things through and you don’t have to spend your entire day decluttering.


Get everything from that category in the same spot

When I decided to look through my scrapbook supplies I just picked a box and left it at that. I sold a lot of items (and got a really good price for them! yay!). A few months later I looked in my closet again and found a few more items. Some of these items actually were part of a package I had already sold. Oops! So now I had to create a new ad, sell something very small separately and go through the sending process again.

If I had gone through all the items at the same time, I could have gotten everything in a pile and sell them once and be done. Now I had to go through all items a couple of times and made it more work for myself. Getting every item out and in front of you will give you a great look on what you have. You will immediately notice when you have duplicates (or more) of one item and this helps you to toss it.


Be honest to yourself

Now that you have everything in one spot it’s time to sort. I have seen this tip before, but I always have a ‘keep’, ‘maybe’ and ‘donate’ pile. The keep and donate pile are usually easy, but I found out that the maybe pile tends to be huge.

One thing I’d recommend is being honest to yourself. Do you have a t-shirt you have had for 2 years and only wore twice? Than you will probably not wear it this season either. I often thought about keeping an item so that I could wear it and than made a commitment in doing so. But I usually never did. Why? Because there is a reason I only wore it twice. It’s probably not your style or doesn’t fit or doesn’t work with your body. That’s ok! Just be honest about it and move it to the ‘donate’ pile.

Another thing I come across often is toys or tools that don’t work, but are fixable. We are the type of people to fix it straight away or toss it. There is no in between in our house. But I heard so many people who had something in their garage for a couple of months thinking they’ll fix it someday. The truth is; you probably won’t. You don’t feel like doing so, or just simply forget that it’s there.

So my number one tip on sorting through your stuff is to be honest. It’s ok. You will learn from your mistakes and probably won’t buy that style t-shirt anymore.


Try to sell your items

Now, this is a tricky one. Not every item is worth selling. And to be honest, sometimes it is just not worth the effort. I know clothes are hard to sell, unless you have designer items. Same goes for furniture. I usually don’t bother to sell items that were cheap when I bought them myself. Another strategy is to have your selling price very low.

But I would advise you to look into selling anyway. I never thought my scrapbook supplies would sell, but I got a pretty good price for them once I looked into selling. They also sold pretty quick!


These are just a few tips to get you started. Try not to overdo it though.

Go one category at a time and take your time!

It’s better to do one area of your home really well, than doing everything half. And remember that it doesn’t have to be an empty house to be clutter free!


Let me know what you do to keep your house decluttered! I’d love to hear from you.

20 thoughts on “Where to start when you want to declutter

  1. Love this post! I have Marie Kondo’s book collecting dust on my shelf (if that’s any indicator about how my decluttering status is…ahem.) I’m currently in nesting mode with a baby coming in 2 weeks and wanting to declutter EVERYTHING! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Kailey! Thank you so much! I am also good at collecting dust on books, trust me;) haha. I have a crazy love for books. Love to have them but never read them.. But you are almost due! How exciting! Don’t declutter too much, you need to rest as well;)

  2. I struggle with the keep, donate, maybe part, because like you everything ends up in the maybe pile. I will be moving in the next year so I need to get started on my decluttering and parting ways with much of my stuff.

    1. Yes, the maybe pile is a tricky one. Like I said in the post; it really helps to be honest and ask yourself, will I really wear this. I have had shirts that ended up back in my closet for years but never got worn. I eventually decided to get rid of it and it feels so much better. And moving is a great extra push to be downsizing!

  3. These are great tips. I know whenever I try and tackle my house I try and hit it all at once. Taking one section at a time is a much better way to go about. I’ll definitely be trying that next time!

    1. I used to be like that too. I just found out it didn’t work out and in the end I gave up. Going category by category makes it a little bit more fun and easier. And, when you have everything together in one spot you see how much you actually own. Which in my case usually was more than I thought;)

  4. That is a great book. I have read it twice but still can’t manage to start. Any suggestions on the actual just do it portion? we will be moving across country in a year so this is very important that I can get in the mindset to JUST DO IT! thanks

    1. That’s a good question. For me it always helps to start with something that is not as big of a deal. So I would not recommend starting with your closet. Start easy; just empty one junk drawer. If you feel good after and want to continue, go ahead! But if not, that’s ok too! I just go from smaller to bigger. Hope that helps! You can always email me for some more tips and tricks, because we are also moving country!

  5. I am beginning to declutter, too much stuff around, I can’t take it anymore. Plus I want to one day travel full time in an RV and you can’t take that much with ya lol

    Yesterday, I went through some purses to donate so that’s a start. Hubby says I can’t buy another purse until I get rid of at least 3. Silly guy.

    1. Nope, in an RV there is only so much room;) but good on ya for trying to declutter already! I’d love to travel in an RV fulltime. We did it for 6 weeks and it was amazing! So go for it!

  6. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now. Now that I have two children in the home, it seems even more needed. I’m always saying “How did we end up with all this stuff?”!

    1. Haha, I can totally relate! I always try to keep ahead of it, but still think about all the stuff we acquired over the years! And we even have quite a few things at my in law’s 😉

  7. Thanks for the tip about picking one category to start with! Every time I start to declutter I get super overwhelmed! I’m definitely going to look into the book too!

    1. I really recommend the book! It’s very easy to read and gives a lot of good tips and tricks for decluttering. And going per area will really help you feel less overwhelmed!

  8. Thanks for the tips! In a house full of toys, sometimes its so overwhelming just looking at all the junk (that they don’t even play with). I definitely keep telling myself I’m going to sort through the toys and to try and sell or donate them, but it keeps getting put off. I’ll keep these tips in mind the next time I get brave. 🙂

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